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The sky is prettier, the water is bluer and the sun is shinier in Cancun, Mexico.  It was a magical trip that I took with my brother and two friends and it can never be repeated. The resort was small, the food was amazing and the drinks were strong. We spent the days lounging by the pool or relaxing on the beach and the rest of the world seemed far, far away.

Until I got to Northwest Washington, I thought Cancun was paradise. It still is, but now it’s a tropical paradise. Every day is gorgeous here, even the rainy days. In the Midwest, the lawns are huge but unless it’s a McMansion, people just plant a tree and some shrubs and call it good. Here, the lawns are smaller but everyone has incredible landscaping. So no matter where you go, you are surrounded by beauty. Closer to the bay, you can look out over the water and then turn around and look at the mountains.

I don’t know if constant sunshine makes a person happier, but I know that when I am in an environment that is beautiful, especially near the water, I am calmer and more peaceful. The noise, pollution and stress of a bigger city is definitely not my bag. When I listen to angry rock music (as opposed to happy rock music!), when I am around negative people and when there is nothing to see but concrete, I get crankier and crankier. And then, days or weeks or months later, I realize I’m actually depressed.

I visited my sisters here for a week last summer and I’ve mentioned before that when I got off the plane, I was instantly relaxed. That effect hasn’t worn off yet. People are much more casual, if not quite as friendly as the Midwest. No one seems to be in a huge hurry.  Drivers are more patient – they have to be, because there are tons of pedestrians and cyclists on the streets. Overall, it’s just a calmer atmosphere.

There is so much beauty here that it is almost impossible to take it for granted, although I’m sure there are people who can and do take it in stride. Personally, though, I find it difficult to be stressed out or in a bad mood in this place. It’s not always sunny – but it’s not always rainy, either.

It’s my paradise.